Refuge Operations Intern

Expected Dates
June 7, 2021 to June 5, 2022
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Position ID
Join the team at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and represent the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for this unique internship opportunity. Gain experience with the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program in the Detroit and Monroe metro areas by learning all aspects of managing an international wildlife refuge. If you are still not sure what career field you are interested in pursuing, this is the internship for you. You will have a chance to sample many conservation career fields.

Major Duties:
  • Administrative Assistant - Work closely with the Administrative Assistant to ensure smooth operations of office functions including responding to written, telephone, and in-person inquiries from the public; managing day-to-day oversight of mail-room operations including the receipt and dispatching of deliveries; maintaining office supply stock inventories; and basic filing. 
  • Facility Operations - Learn what it takes to manage a visitor center both inside and out by engaging in routine maintenance such as cleaning, painting, managing safety concerns, mowing, weeding, and working with contractors. 
  • Maintenance - Shadow the Maintenance Mechanic as he keeps equipment in proper working order, both at the shop and in the field.
  • Biology - Work with the Wildlife Biologist to collect basic data from field investigations of land and water development projects; search published technical sources for information on designated topics; and assist with implementation of management plans, studies, and investigations required for species propagation/production, resource protection, ecological factors, public information, and other aspects of natural resource management.
  • Outreach - Join the visitor services team and suggest new topics, revisions, and other changes or improvements in the refuge’s overall program; participate in development of program plans that include program content, emphasis, and methods, taking into account audience needs; assist with on and off-site guided service, including implementation of virtual videos, on-site hikes, and backyard chats. Goal is to expose new audiences to nature in a fun, interactive manner. 
  • Staff the John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Center - Join an amazing team of volunteers as we welcome visitors from all walks of life and discover ways to individually connect everyone with nature.

Compensation: $160/week living allowance, $800/month housing allowance, $1,100 in relocation assistance, and health insurance.

This position is eligible for a $6,195 AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of service. It is SCA’s policy that all AmeriCorps-required background checks must return cleared results prior to the position’s start; this includes being fingerprinted for the FBI check. Otherwise, the AmeriCorps award will be removed or the position’s start date will be delayed due to non-compliance.

  • The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located along the lower Detroit River and western shoreline of Lake Erie, just 20 miles south of Detroit and 50 miles north of Toledo, Ohio. Situated in a major metropolitan area, the refuge’s location is truly unique. As the only International Wildlife Refuge in North America the refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands and is close to many communities, each with their local flair.

  • 1. Shadowing various staff members to develop a well-rounded understanding of work across various refuge disciplines;
    2. ZTR mowing operations;
    3. Archery instruction;
    4. Fishing basics; and
    5. Potentially kayak instruction.
  • Located near many museums, sporting arenas and outdoor recreation hotspots.
    1 hr from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ohio
    2 hrs from Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge near Saginaw, MI
    2 hrs from Point Pelee National Park in Canada
  • Yes
Main Area of Focus
Recreation Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Recreation Management
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Hand Tools
some experience
Social Media
competent without supervision
Community Engagement
some experience
Trail Maintenance
some experience